If you’re stuck in a rut, allow a little change to enter your life. It may do your mind and body some good.
Some of you already know that I went on a short trip out of town to reconnect with friends and family. I actually went home to the place I grew up in Southeast Asia. It was my first trip in many years, and at first, I didn’t feel like I wanted to do it. Why? Because it was far, I hate plane travel and felt that I had too much going on in my own home that I didn’t want to bother taking myself out of my routine.
But I eventually changed my mind and made the trip. And while I was in my home away from home, I realized something. That a little change can be good. And maybe that even bigger changes can be better.
Are You Stuck In A Rut?
It’s easy to get stuck in the relative comfort of your established routine — especially when it’s automatic and familiar. We go to work, we go home, do some errands then repeat the process all over again. On occasion, we have a little leisure time we use to devote to some pursuits. There are some of us who have programmed ourselves with “roles” that we live by and that help dictate our behaviors day in and day out.
When things are chugging along a certain way, we don’t want to threaten the stability of that routine because we want to retain order in our lives. As we grow older, we get more set in our ways and we become less inquisitive, less adventurous, and possibly, even less creative as we find ourselves without enough time to do much else other than the usual. Then there are those who are really in a “rut”.
Find your inner zen anywhere. Photo by iandeth.
Get Out Of That Rut
Want to get your groove back? Try something new or different.
Here’s where I suggest that a little change, or even a little break can go a long way. I’m far from feeling stuck in a rut (as I’ve made some major changes in my life only recently!) but I’ve often felt besieged and sometimes overwhelmed by family and financial responsibilities, so much so that even my health has suffered from it. While it is often the case that we think that change and dealing with uncertainty can cause stress, the opposite can also occur: stress can be caused by our established routine and lifestyle, and that it would take change to relieve it.
A change of pace, a change of surroundings, a change in priorities may all help rejigger ourselves out of a rut. Is all this talk of the financial crisis grating on you? Then stop reading the papers for a while. Is your boring job making you feel like you’re wasting your life? Then develop skills and press on to other opportunities. Are you unhappy about where you are right now? If it’s a temporary funk, then a little patience and determination can help you get through it. Otherwise, seriously think about what it will take to make yourself happier, then shoot for your dreams and goals.
How Change Can Improve Your Well-Being
It’s not unusual to feel that “this is all life has to offer me”. We then throw our hands up in the air and resign ourselves to our mundane existence — it’s human nature to feel this way. But we don’t have to do anything drastic to reenergize ourselves. As I’ve mentioned, even a little change can lead to positive developments for you. Here’s how:
1. Do something different.
How about adding a short activity to your schedule to add some spice to your day or week? Cooking lessons or dance lessons perhaps? Something new and different can be invigorating, especially if it’s a temporary thing. When something becomes permanent, the fun can wear off over time.
2. Stretch your boundaries.
Sometimes, trying something radical or adventurous can light a spark in you and get you to feel inspired. Patrick from Cash Money Life did such a thing by going skydiving. An adventure can be just the thing to ignite a fire in you that you may not know existed or may have lost. Stop feeling “stuck” and instead, find out if there are things that can inspire you.
3. Find other ways to make things work.
You may be used to having things done a certain way. Well, maybe these things can be done better, but you’ll never know unless you consider the alternatives. For instance, you may have been driving the same route to work everyday — but changing things up a little can prove to be interesting. Are there new shortcuts you could take that can save you time? Or if you carpool with a co-worker, you could save some extra bucks. It may seem like an inconvenience, but you won’t know that without trying it out first.
4. Take a break.
Not long ago, I wondered why we don’t take vacations. I’ve heard some people claim that it’s because they enjoy their work so much (and I’ll admit that I’m one of those people who’ve used this excuse). What I’ve discovered is that a break here and there can do wonders for your mind and body. I really shouldn’t say “no” to vacations anymore, but I’d make sure that it’s to well-chosen places we’d actually enjoy (or we’d just be wasting our time, wanting to get back home and to work).
5. Get a different perspective.
Doing the same things everyday can bog you down mentally and physically over time. By meeting new people or going to new places, you may begin to view things differently in a way that can improve your outlook. It can also help you appreciate what you’ve already got. So think outside your box for a moment. If it means that you physically remove yourself from a particular place in order to achieve that different perspective, then do so. Go on vacation and soak up a new culture — by the time you get back, you’ll have a fresh outlook on things.
6. Take a step back, rest and refocus.
It’s tempting to keep plugging away at our work and chores on a daily basis, but before long, we’ll wear ourselves down if we don’t stop and refocus once in a while.
7. Have fun.
Yes, I need to lighten up a little once in a while. 😉 Having fun will brighten your mood and keep the positive energy flowing in your direction.
I’ve got friends who insist that I should begin meditating as I have a Type A personality and I tend to be a generally anxious and wired individual (and that’s without a smidgen of caffeine in my system). I’ve relented and have begun trying my own meditative activities, which have somewhat improved my overall sense of well-being.
9. Be alert and open to new opportunities.
I sometimes think “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, referring to myself of course 😉 . But nothing could be further from the truth. By learning new things, developing new skills and honing new talents, you may find out that you’re cut out for far more than your typical job. Could you be destined for a different type of career or an exciting path as an entrepreneur?
10. Don’t fear change — welcome it instead!
Try not to be too anxious or fearful of “change”. It’s usually a good thing as it brings with it possible improvements and developments in your life. We typically experience growth through change, challenges, and even adversity.
You may think of yourself as perfectly happy and satisfied with your life…. or you may not. Either way, you may find that some change — as a breath of fresh air or as a big gust of wind — will do wonders for you. As they say, “variety is the spice of life”.
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